Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha thera who is spearheading the campaign to abolish Executive Presidency has stated it is high time for the present presidential system that has dragged the country into depths of a corrupt and lawless reign, is abolished.
Speaking at the Hindu Cultural Center in Kandy, Sobitha thera who is also the Common Candidate in the offing at the upcoming Presidential Elections, has described the Executive Presidency as a ‘curse’ that has to be broken if better days are to dawn for Sri Lanka.
He has pointed out the prevalent presidential system implemented by-force by former President JR Jayewardene was one that has been continuously criticised since its implementation by national leaders including Sirimavo Bandaranaike and NM Perera.
“Whomever the individual who wields the power of the Executive Presidency is not bound by laws that governs other citizens and neither is he/she accountable to the country’s parliamentary system, Constitution or the judiciary,” Sobitha thera had noted at the event while adding it is a system that was rejected even by the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa until he took over the reins.
He had asserted that although President Rajapaksa made pledges to abolish the Executive Presidency in his election manifesto – the Mahinda Chinthana and even walked from Kataragama to Colombo in objection of the system, he is now backtracking on his promise and has already altered the system in order to contest for Presidency repeatedly through the implementation of the 18th amendment.
“The daily expenses of the Executive President is close to Rs. 23,400,000 – its a financial burden, which the country cannot afford. Moreover, it is also influencing and interfering with every segment of the country’s administration as reflected by the rampant favouritism and nepotism within the foreign service where even military men who have committed cold blooded murders in Rathupaswala and Katunayake have been given diplomatic postings,” Sobitha thera had stated.
He had gone on to state that the prevalent system is one in which drug lords and thugs can survive and thrive due to the heavy financial costs involved instead of ordinary, law abiding citizens.
Sobitha thera speaking further had also expressed concern over the widespread corruption within the judicial system and the widespread development and arbitrary donations given to foreign nations according to the whims and fancies of the President – case in point, the one million USD donation to Palestine – while farmers consume poison unable to grapple their deteriorating financial situations.
“For a country as large as India there are only 24 Ministers but in Sri Lanka there are 23 ministers in charge of portfolios relating to Agriculture alone and yet, look at how the vegetable prices have skyrocketed within the past few years,” he had stated.